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How to Add a Vignette: Photoshop Tutorial

Updated on May 14, 2012

Add Vignette in Photoshop

In this Photoshop tutorial you will learn how to add a vignette to your photos using Photoshop. A vignette is when the edges or corners of an image are darkened to create focus on the main subject. This effect can occur naturally due to lens limitation or lens settings, but it can also be added manually using Photoshop. The effect can create a really unique and dynamic look. It can be used to make wedding photos appear elegant and dreamy or to make photos look grungy and retro.

Recently phone apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic have made the vignette effect very popular since many of their photo effects involve some sort of vignette. This tutorial will teach you how to add your own costume vignette to any of your photos using Photoshop.

Vignette Tips

  • A vignette is most often times black since that is the color of natural vignetting, but try getting creative and use different colors of fill.
  • Try adding blur to your vignette selection for a more dramatic effect.
  • Natural occurring vignetting is defined as edges or corners of a photo that are darker or less saturated. I would suggest that you play around with the saturation settings and see if you like it.

Step 1: Open the file you would like to add the vignette to.

Step 2: Right click on the background layer and select "Duplicate Layer". A new window will pop up, just click on the OK button.

Step 3: Chose the layer "Background Copy" by left clicking on it. It should be highlighted blue.

Step 4: Now choose the marquee selection tool. You can choose the Rectangular option or the Elliptical option. For this example I have decided to use the Rectangular option.

Step 5: Then use the marquee tool in your image by left clicking and dragging your cursor to form the shape of your selection. If you want to constrain your selection to a perfect circle you can hold down the shift button. If you selected the rectangular option rather than the elliptical option the shift key will constrain your selection to a perfect square.

Step 6: Once you are happy with the size and shape of your selection right click on your selection and choose "Feather".

Step 7: I would suggest that you use a large amount of feathering; I would choose 50 to 80 pixels. You will have to experiment with this number for your specific image, because it will vary due to the size of your selection, the overall size of the image and your personal taste. Once you are happy with feather radius click the OK button.

Step 8: Now that you have decided upon the amount of feathering you would like you can right-click on your selection and choose "Invert Selection" or use the keyboard shortcut by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+I.

Step 9: Then go to the menu at the top of Photoshop and select "Fill" (Edit --> Fill). A new window will appear; in the window select to fill the layer with "Black". Now click the OK button.

Step 10: Lastly, right-click on your image and choose deselect. You should now have an image with a vignette.

Before and After

Before
Before
After
After

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